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Model update: Toyota Yaris Cross Design

Date: 10 March 2022   |   Author: Martyn Collins

Toyota aims at the compact crossover crown with this Yaris-badged hybrid.
What's new:
We try Toyota's new crossover in Design spec.
Standard equipment:
16in alloy wheels, rain-sensing wipers, smart entry with push button start, front and rear electric windows, automatic air conditioning, electronic parking brake, rear-view camera, 8in Toyota Touch 2 multimedia system, smartphone integration with Apple Carplay and Android Auto, Toyota Safety Sense including pre-collision system with vehicle detection, day/night pedestrian detection, daytime cyclist detection, emergency steering assist, adaptive cruise control, lane departure alert, road sign recognition assist and automatic high beam activation.

There is no doubt that Toyota does hybrid models well, after all it has been perfecting them since the first Prius 25 years ago. Toyota also makes good SUVs too, as five-generations of the Rav4 have proved. So, one of the latest entries to the highly competitive compact SUV class, the Yaris Cross, comes from good stock and has all the makings to be a great success. 

It might share the Yaris's platform and petrol hybrid engine, but Toyota's SUV success is probably the reason why the latest Yaris Cross looks more like a scaled down version of the Rav4. The Rav4 influence is most obvious from the grille at the front and the chunky, stylised wheel arches from the side, plus big 17in wheels and polished alloys - even on this mid-level Design grade. The stretched hatchback bodystyle and high-set rear lights, are the only features that look similar to the current Yaris supermini. 

The result is familiar, but still distinctive enough to stand out against rivals such as the Nissan Juke, Renault Captur, Citroen C3 Aircross and Ford Puma. It's a modern, attractive design that suits bright colours.

The interior of this car feels more Yaris in design, so think solid and well made, rather than attractive and exciting. The lofty driving position is SUV-like, the seats are comfortable and have a decent amount of adjustment - plus there are welcome physical buttons for the climate control. Although, the thick rear roof pillars and small rear screen mean rear vision isn't great, but thankfully a camera is fitted as standard and really helps. Highlight of the centre console is the infotainment system, which in the Design spec we had has the smaller 8in screen. It's a shame it's so fiddly to use, although it does have Apple Carplay and Android Auto compatibility, so you could always use your phone instead. The bigger footprint means there is a decent amount of interior space front and rear, plus a 397-litre boot, with a useful 40/20/40 split/folding rear seat and clever height-adjustable floorboard to reduce the loading lip. 

There is just one engine available in the Yaris Cross - a 1.5-litre, three cylinder mated with an electric motor, equalling 116hp. This is not the most powerful engine as you can imagine - 11.2 seconds is the official 0-62mph acceleration time - but with it starting off in full-electric mode it feels very smooth and willing thanks to the Yaris Cross's general feeling of lightness. Sadly, this all goes out of the window when you have to overtake or engage Sport mode, where the CVT transmission lets it rev alarmingly and the engine note becomes strained. Some of the transitions between the petrol and electric motors could be smoother in our opinion too. It is impressively efficient with a 62.8mpg combined fuel consumption and 24% BIK figure. We saw high 40s mpg during the test without even really trying. 

With the standard big wheels, the Yaris Cross rides firmly and is upset by low-speed imperfections, but it's never uncomfortable. Despite this Toyota's tall-ish body, that stiff ride does have a positive effect on the body control, equalling tidy handling with plenty of grip from those chunky tyres. If more grip is needed, Toyota is offering four-wheel drive on Yaris Cross top models. The grip, and the reasonably precise steering result in a decent drive. The Yaris is no Ford Puma but is much more capable dynamically than you might expect. 

So, to sum up, the Yaris Cross looks sharp, is impressively efficient and decent to drive. Although to unlock the efficiency, you will have to put up with limitations of the CVT gearbox and an interior that, while being spacious, lacks the attractive detailing of key rivals.

Toyota Yaris Cross Hybrid Design  

P11D: £24,700

Residual value: 38.09%

Depreciation: £15,292

Fuel: £6,363

Service, maintenance and repair: £1,952

Cost per mile: 39.34p

Fuel consumption: 62.8mpg

CO2 (BIK %): 102g/km (24%)   

BIK 20/40% a month: £99/£198

Luggage capacity: 397 litres

Engine size/power: 1490cc/91hp plus 80hp electric motor


  • Attractive styling
  • Good to drive
  • Lots of standard kit
  • Hybrid drivetrain won't appeal to all
  • Interior lacks the 'wow' factor